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Plotting to save the BBC

Nick Robinson | 09:11 UK time, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Should you be forced to pay a flat tax to pay for TV programmes you don't watch and find offensive? Can it be justified in an era when so much can be downloaded for free?

Should the TV licence fee be scrapped? Twenty or so years ago Margaret Thatcher's answer was yes but she didn't get the idea through Whitehall.

David Mellor and John BirtUnderstanding why tells you a great deal about the obstacles any future prime minister who favours the idea might face.

On tonight's Decision Time on Radio 4 we examine the arguments, pinpoint the opponents and look at the hurdles on an ideas path down the corridors of Whitehall and Westminster.

In tonight's programme a former broadcasting minister - David Mellor - confesses to plotting with a former BBC director general - John Birt - in a smart Westminster restaurant. He is chastised by his former Whitehall boss - ex-permanent secretary of the Culture Department, Sue Street. In the process they reveal a great deal about how policy is made in SW1.

Mellor tells the tale of how he took Birt to Green's restaurant and told him:

"[T]hey're saying you should throw away Radio 1 and Radio 2. Do not do that. The person in the Gateshead council house has got to have a reason to pay the licence fee. If it appears to be a subsidy from the Gateshead council house to the bloke in Hampstead Garden Suburb plugged into Radio 3, it isn't going to work."

Birt, who recoils at the suggestion he was "plotting" recalls:

"He gave me a very full and candid account of what was going on in government and I gave him an extremely honest and candid account of what I thought the real problems were at the BBC, and we had, in a sense, a negotiation, and we were able to forge a sense of common purpose."

Sue Street advised her former ministerial boss:

"[D]on't appear, either in fact or in perception, to cosy up to the BBC, because there are other big beasts out there - the chancellor, the Business Department, the Cabinet Office - who will see the faults in that view"

Decision Time is on BBC Radio 4 at 2000 GMT tonight - 20 January 2010.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Yawn!

  • Comment number 2.

    Many of the current internal problems at the BBC can be traced to the Birt days. Layers and layers of accountants is his main legacy.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick

    2 entries on navel gazing...

    If you practiced journalistic integrity and upheld your profession's original principles you wouldn't have to gaze at your navel.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm cool with the licence fee. Prefer a little less of the Sir David Attenborough type stuff though.

  • Comment number 5.

    I thought this was a political blog. It now seems to have turned into another BBC advertising board.
    One would think that with an upcoming election, and so many political stories available there would be more to discuss than this.
    I DO question having to pay a licence fee for a service that is now so poor in terms of the output. The pay levels within the Beeb are commesurate with our overpaid politicians.

  • Comment number 6.

    There's no doubt that the BBC does some things very well and other things very badly - on the whole the licence fee is probably more or less good value for the money.

    That said, there's certainly wide-ranging scope for improvements and extra efficiency, and the fee could certainly be reduced without compromising on quality or service. They should also ensure that they are far more accountable to the general public, as opposed to simply pandering to the ruling government of the day.

  • Comment number 7.

    Really looking forward to the show, last weeks was fascinating and illuminating.

  • Comment number 8.

    Nick

    I agree with posts #1 and 3 GAC and TheBlameGame.

    I am sure as the BBC Political Editor your blog could tackle serious issues. Mervyn King speech, Hoon and Chilcot and the on-going loss of British manufacturing to overseas owners and the impact that will have, to name but three issues. Your last two blogs are just adverts for BBC programmes and could be written by a novice reporter.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick

    The BBC already carries loads of adverts (promos for shows ad nauseum) and now you seem to have caught the bug in your last two posts.

    The danger for the BBC is that they are increasingly being perceived as a commercial enterprise where ratings are all that matter (hence the constant self promotion).

    It would only take another step or two for the BBC to complete the journey to full commercialisation.

    The honest thing to do would be to propose that idea to the Government of the day - but are your Governers and Mark Thomson Turkeys - allegorically speaking?

  • Comment number 10.

    The BBC should be able to run on less money all together. If a person is contracted to the BBC then writing an article for a newspaper or working elsewhere should be part of that contract and the funds come back to the BBC so the taxpayer - who pays your wage - should benefit. As it stands it is a cosy little club for all to take from the taxpayer - like being an MP with less accountability.

    Now back to the politics - Mr Hoon was interesting yesterday when he said it was all Gordon's fault why we don't have any helicopters in Afghanistan wasn't he?

  • Comment number 11.

    The BBC has lost it's way, it is no longer an independent organisation in it's own right. It's remit seems to be to put across whatever social message the fashionable focus groups, equality groupings and the government demand. News is no longer just reported, it is now apparent that the BBC feels it should influence or indeed manufacture the news to suit the needs of the day. Programme making seems also to be based on the premise that if enough viewers or listeners tune in to a particular programme then it should be expanded, given more funding and be forced down the throat of everyone until it exhausts itself and the punters.Cash seems to be tossed away willy nilly, with a surfeit of presenters "experts" and hangers on all being paid from taxpayers' money for no apparent reason. Why do we need two or more presenters for every programme , one of whom is usually a buxom young lady who can barely articulate, and why is it necessary to have foreign correspondents of various nationalities resident in some of the most obscure parts of the world at our expence ? It does not improve the news service,though it may help the economies of some of these countries.

  • Comment number 12.

    One fails to understand how you choose your topics:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8469373.stm
    (The governor of the Bank of England has renewed his warning to the government that it must cut the public deficit)

    The UK is in a real mess, and you want to discuss the BBC's licence fee.

    The BBC is indirectly the mouthpiece of government (note the small case 'g') and the licence fee is a tax which should be scrapped.

  • Comment number 13.

    Should you be forced to pay a flat tax to pay for 'uniquely-funded' TV programmes that often misrepresent views you and others hold, actively try and reshape them and do so in ways that are often unprofessional, unobjective, woefully balanced, factually incorrect and/or unethical?

    With zero opportunity to protest by withdrawing support, a right even provided every few years to those who represent you in Parliament.

    Can it be justified?


    Wild guess.

  • Comment number 14.

    another advertorial

  • Comment number 15.

    The licence fee is of course used for more than is obvious on the surface.
    The last set of negotiations led to a sudden desire to distribute departments to the regions. This was of course a sop to the government as a backdoor way of paying for regeneration in Salford and now also in South Wales as drama will further relocate to Cardiff. At the same time smaller regional bases are being cut, so much for regional commitment.
    The next stage is I expect the sale of the iconic TV Centre site for more west London shopping malls and small flats that will be the slums of the future.

  • Comment number 16.

    It would just be nice to have a broadcaster that wasn't so biased towards Labour.

    That piece on The One Show was absolutely disgusting and shameful. It highlights how Labour have consisitently manipulated both the presenters and producers in the BBC to promote Labour ideologies, policies and propoganda.

    So I am for scrapping the licence fee if the BBC is just going to be a political tool.

    Why should I pay for this relentless Labour propoganda machine?

    If they want it publicly funded then it should be subject to proper regulation, fixed salaries and consistent output with balanced arguments free from political interference.

  • Comment number 17.

    I echo the general consensus that there are more important things going on at the moment that warrant your attention, Nicholas.

    However.

    I dont have a problem with a licence fee based system, although it seems to be a quite abritrary "telly-tax", considering what other providers such as Virgin and Sky provide for the fees they charge; likewise Freeview and Freesat.

    When (if!) the broadband networks are uprated to say current South Korean levels, then the possibility of subscription based IPTV will be likely to come to the fore; Giving the customer the opportunity to choose their own programming from wherever they want, maybe even directly from the programme makers themselves. This will have the same type of ramifications for broadcasters like the BBC as the internet did for the music industry and the major record labels.

    It is potentially a huge step change, one of the biggest the broadcasting industry will ever have seen and all the major broadcasters, Auntie included needs to have more than half an eye on the future and how it is going to adjust to continue to justify not just the licence fee, but also purely to exist. Take away the public subsidy from the licence fee and in a straight fight between the Beeb, Sky and Virgin, let alone the US content providers, Auntie might well end up struggling... the politicians of the next two parliaments should certainly be addressing the question and the BBC would do well to be prepared.

    Making an enemy of the incoming government by continuing to keep the life support on for the thoroughly discredited New Labour project, in those circumstances, is not a prudent move.

  • Comment number 18.

    The licence fee is a great idea in principle. I don't want to end up with a US-style TV system where the adverts are on for longer than the programmes.

    However, the BBC as it currently operates is not doing a good job. It needs to get back to the idea of public service broadcasting, which means listening to what the licence fee payers are telling it while maintaining quality and not simply churning out huge amounts of lowest-common-denominator garbage. That's a tricky balance to get right, to be sure, but given the stratospheric salaries that BBC senior managers get paid, I don't think it's too much to ask to expect them to do something tricky, is it?

  • Comment number 19.

    #17 Fubar - That's a good point.

    The TV Licence is little more than another stealth tax.

    Why can't we pay for what we watch. It would improve the quality of programmes and then we won't have to be constantly subjected to government drivel.

    I remember when I first set up house we didn't have an aerial and just a colour portable TV with an old VHS tape recorder and some pre-recorded tapes that were our only TV entertainment for a few years.

    However, even though we didn't have an aerial or receive a signal, we still had to have a TV licence because the equipment was 'capable' of receiving a signal.

    I resented it then and I resent it now. genuinely money for nothing.

    Thanks to the internet I should be able to choose what I watch and pay a maybe a subscription to receive a choice of programmes.

  • Comment number 20.

    The licence fee needs to be tiered according to ability to pay. The present flat fee resembles the poll tax with all the accompanying arguments that it is inherently unfair to those on low incomes.

    Everyone has different tastes. I’m not a radio three (or one, two or five etc) type for example.

    The Attenborough and other factual programmes are the only reason I watch TV; if bundled as a subscription channel I could be persuaded to pay for that.

  • Comment number 21.

    An interesting point but to extend the analogy, we have to pay numerous other taxes and yet none of us will benefit from or even agree with how all of that revenue is spent by the Government. The notion that any alternative funding system would lead to everyone being happy with 100% of the BBC's output is wholly unrealistic, and I for one would not want to see the corporation turn into another ITV by churning out 'lowest common denominator' pulp for the masses. In any case, given the quantity and variety of programmes on offer, the current licence fee is hardly extortionate. Basically, it ain't broke - so let's not fix it.

  • Comment number 22.

    So far as I can see the person in the council house in Gateshead (these days) tunes in to Jeremy Vile NOT the BBC which he / she finds rather twee.

    So far as I can see the asians tune in to the BBC if they are westernised, or Asian channels if they are not.

    So far as I can see the BBC is a huge lumbering machine parts of which are excellent - drama for instance - and parts of which are crass, the so called "edgy" productions like Ross, Brand, Norton et al which infuriates middle Britain.

    It is widely thought that the BBC has an unfair bias towards the left, liberal thinking etc. I think Thompson epitomises this and should go.

    There should be a huge shake up, a thinning down, and loads of market research into what should be put out and what should not.

    It'll probably end up with two big players: Sky and the Beeb.

    I find it all too much at present and too time consuming. We should get out more and watch less.

  • Comment number 23.

    19#

    The only thing preventing it is the broadband infrastructure. For IPTV to be properly feasible, you need steady, constant "protected" bandwidth of a least 10Meg - anything else eating into it and you're going to get dropout.

    In the same way that you can buy albums/tracks directly from an artists site, you'd be able to buy your own drama/soaps/lifestyle/sport, directly from the producers. Football clubs could either still negotiate their own TV rights to a single or syndicated broadcaster, or fans outside of the reception areas could subscribe by IPTV as another income stream for them. Instead of the litany of drama repeats, costume drama's etc, newer challenging works made by independant production houses can be made directly available to the public on a subscriber basis. By doing so, breaking the mould of "you'll watch/listen to what we think you want to see/hear", rather than what you really want.

    What happened to the record industry is what is now happening to Hollywood. Why else would we be getting fed remakes/tv-shows-to-cinema/prequels/sequels? Because it is seen to be fairly low-risk/minimum outlay/maximum return. Good financial sense, but in the creative industries, it is like a suffocating blanket. All you get left with is loads of the same old regurgitated, unimaginative, brain-out pap; artistically bankrupt.

    Same will happen to TV and the dead tree press unless they get with the programme!

  • Comment number 24.

    oh, as I have said before, I much prefer ITV News now. Its presenters are professional, smart and don't wave their arms about in the manner that Jay Hunt has told the BBC's to do.

    A few manners and pleasantries go a long way too - Mark Austin always says "goodnight and thank you for watching". A bit trivial perhaps but his courteousness impresses me far more than the scruffy intellectualising of the BBC.

  • Comment number 25.

    The TV licence pays for far more than just the BBC TV and radio.
    Chanel 4 get lots of money from it, the current switch over to digital transmission is being paid for out of it and lots of other services such as this very website are too.

    Personally, I tend ignore anyone who complains about BBC bias towards a particular party or issue as the complaints invariably come from people who are making party political statements instead of reflecting the vast range of output provided by the BBC. They always seem to miss the times when the BBC speaks out against certain people, parties or ideas and only ever focus on the small number of pieces that could be interpreted as being supportive of them and then use this as a stick to beat the BBC with.
    The usual anti-Labour, anti-environmental, anti-human rights, anti-PC, in fact anti everything that doesn't take them back to some imagined era of British greatness group of people just like to moan because they have nothing better to do and if the licence fee was scrapped they'd all be moaning about that within a year too even though they've been constantly complaining about the licence fee for years.

    Anyone who fails to see the value of the BBC deserves to be left with an American style of broadcasting where the only opinions you hear are those paid for by the networks owners and advertisers. Unfortunately, the rest of us would be left to suffer this too so hopefully the BBC and the licence fee will be with us for many more years to come.

  • Comment number 26.

    "Should the TV licence fee be scrapped?"

    Absolutely.

    The BBC should provide only those services that the market can't or won't.

    (Therefore the following should be hived off: Radios 1,2,5,7, 8.... Local radio, BBC1,3,4.... etc.). (The excellent World Service is already paid for by the FCO).

    BBC Worldwide should also dispose of its commercial holdings. (Why am I a 'nominal' shareholder of Lonely Planet???)

  • Comment number 27.

    All very interesting!

    I sat at home last night with 999 channels to choose from and there was b****r all worth watching.

    Let's go back to three channels and bring back Morecombe & Wise, Tommy Cooper, Fools & Horses etc. Oh forgot, I can watch them on UK Gold!

  • Comment number 28.

    Saga in my opinion those are what makes the BBC watchable when they do come out with those type of documentarys.

    The BBC does need to reined back in though, their is no need for most of the radio shows and channels, and it is an abuse of position I believe that they can and do branch out this much. Likewise the vast majority of what is on BBC3 and 4 is both unfunny and repetitive. Still on the whole you don't do a bad job.

  • Comment number 29.

    Having watched the dross they serve up on cable TV in the UK, and on mainstream TV in the USA and in Oz, leave the BBC alone! Otherwise we'll end up with the lowest-common-denominator stuff, with 10 mins of programe + 10 mins of advertising, with repetitious documentary voice-overs to compensate for the viewers (perceived) short span of attention.

  • Comment number 30.

    Blog Subject Matter. I normally switch over when the adverts come on!!

  • Comment number 31.

    27. When there's b''''r all on the box flick through your recordings or catch up and watch them - or READ A BOOK???

  • Comment number 32.

    Am watching PMQs right now and is it me or do I detect a look of disapproval on Hattie's face when the PM is speaking? She usually nods in approval but not today. My guess is she still wants him out NOW.

  • Comment number 33.

    4 - Sagamix -
    Hey!! Hands off Attenbrough.....I expect he could do a marvellous job exploring the nether world of blogs and bloggers!
    I think the BBC provides excellent value for the licence fee. The indies are creating a dissapointing world of cheap and inane celebrity culture. And, of course, there is always the "off" switch.....

  • Comment number 34.

    Without the BBC you will be relying on Murdoch to feed the masses with information. Horrible thought.

  • Comment number 35.

    "The usual anti-Labour, anti-environmental, anti-human rights, anti-PC, in fact anti everything that doesn't take them back to some imagined era of British greatness group of people just like to moan because they have nothing better to do"

    So true - couldn't have put it better myself!

  • Comment number 36.

    #29 Pataphysician
    "leave the BBC alone! Otherwise we'll end up with the lowest-common-denominator stuff, with 10 mins of programe + 10 mins of advertising, with repetitious documentary voice-overs to compensate for the viewers (perceived) short span of attention."

    Yes, but at least it would make a change from the incessant NuLab propaganda against the tories in England and the nasty nats elsewhere in this sceptic isle.

  • Comment number 37.

    There is no justification for the licence fee. I'd favour the BBC (after an extensive slimming-down exercise) being funded from general taxation.

  • Comment number 38.

    Re: 31 Flamethrower

    Great suggestion but books getting in short supply now as we're
    burning them to save on the gas bill.

  • Comment number 39.

    David Mellor and John Birt: Why?

  • Comment number 40.

    I haven't paid the licence fee for 5 years,not watched TV in Uk , just radio and Online services. TV BBC . C**P

  • Comment number 41.

    The BBC is an important institution and provides a very good quality of service - but it is not perfect and in the past has been guilty of bias in its reporting.

    It is frankly astonishing that the 'Balen Report' has still not been released. The report apparently deals with bias in the BBC's Middle East coverage and this continued cover up only reinforces the suspicion that the BBC has something to hide.

    In the recent past there have also been quite a few racist remarks on BBC blogs, notably on Stephanomics last year. Although the person in question no longer posts messages on that blog, earlier messages are still there. The 'moderation' is not always very consistent.

    I think the BBC provides good value, and I don't agree with the view that they should not make popular programmes that get good ratings. However, I do think the BBC needs to rethink the way it panders to 'youth culture' and ageism.

    If the BBC is to retain its independence from political interference from the Government of the day, it must do better to demonstrate its credentials of fairness and impartiality.

  • Comment number 42.

    TV licence = £142.50
    SKY subscription = £216 to £582

    Original programming provided by the TV licence:
    Life
    Planet Earth
    South Pacific
    Wild China
    How the Earth made us
    Coast
    Top Gear
    Question Time
    Working Lunch
    This Week
    Lark Rise to Candleford
    The Mighty Boosh
    Have I Got News for You
    Time
    Horizon
    Doctor Who
    (To name but a few from a very long list)

    Original programming provided by SKY
    Ross Kemp on Gangs/Wars
    Mile High
    Footballers Wives
    BNP Wives

    And I can't even think of any original programming provided by ITV or channel 5.

    The only worthwhile thing that SKY provides is dedicated sports and film channels and the platform for other networks to broadcast over; the rest is all imports, re-runs and clip shows. ITV is the home of the game show and reality TV while few people even watch Chanel 5.
    Chanel 4 makes some good stuff but they receive part of the licence fee too.

    No contest really, is it ?

  • Comment number 43.

    Why is the license fee so high when a large percentage of the programmes are repeats.
    Why do we not have HD programmes all of the time on all BBC channels.
    What does the BBC do with all of that license fee revenue.
    Why oh why do we keep getting poor quality blogs from Nick Robinson.

  • Comment number 44.

    32 Flamethrower.

    How right you are, however Darling's face gives it all away and has done for many weeks. Notice also that D. Miliband never gets to sit near Brown these days. Seating positions also tell there own story.

  • Comment number 45.

    Just watching the BBC's live coverage of Gordon Brown's counter terrorism statement.

    The chamber is almost empty!

    What other job would allow employees to skive off in this way?

    When politicians complain that the BBC should trim its services to save money, perhaps they should consider how much taxpayers' money they waste themselves.

    Why do we need so many useless MPs? If they don't turn up for work, they should have their pay docked!

  • Comment number 46.

    #17 thinking of more important issues PMQ's today DC raise the issue about full butprotecting the children involved SCR in the Doncaster asualts, hot on the heels of the Bady P SCR.

    Apparently newnight have seen the full report but the exec summary does
    to match with the body of the report. It seems that we are in for another coverup where child protection is concerned to protect those that oversee and are involved in the policies of "social enginerring"

  • Comment number 47.

    #45:

    It's not just that they don't have to turn up for work. They have no performance requirements whatsoever. You might argue that they don't need to be in the Commons chamber all the time because they are doing important constituency work. That could even be a valid argument if there were any requirement whatsoever for them to do any constituency work. There isn't.

  • Comment number 48.

    There is as much advertising on the BBC as anywhere else. It's just all about the BBC as opposed to being all about chicken nuggets and other
    objects of desire.

    As far as I'm concerned, all I watch is BBC2 and BBC4 and I listen to Radio4 and 5Live when the cricket's on (because they would rather show darts than cricket). So why can't I pay a reduced licence fee?

    I could happily live without a TV, but I admit that I'd miss the radio.

    ...And Saga - I was most surprised to read that you don't like David Attenborough. That explains why you call everyone 'Babe' though - you must be an Eastenders fan!

  • Comment number 49.

    Absolutely KEEP, KEEP KEEP the licence fee. It is :

    a) extrordinary value for money. From radio to TV to internet. From CBeebies, to BBC1, to Today program, to Proms, to Newsnight, to (if only) Top of the Pops etc etc etc

    b)the only tax I know of which is truly hypothecated. I know what I am paying for. Where exactly does my national insurance payment go ? Much is wasted that's for sure, paying bankers bonuses for instance.

    c) no adverts, selling Cadburys product or selling out to Murdoch. Foreign owned BBC anyone ?

    d) I don't recall being asked whether I would like to pay my annual flat tax fee to ; trident, banks, PFI repayments, child trust fund and the rest. Let's deal with the big stuff eh, before trying to commercialise the BBC

    Sure it ain't perfect. But for sure, it's good.

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't have a radio so for me it's all about the TV.

    Now, how often is there something actually worth watching on the BBC channels?

    When I'm bored, I just turn on to the BBC News Channel just in case there's something new on, other than that it's occasional watching of the BBC News Channel for a catch up, watching BBC Breakfast of a morning and the occasional series, at the moment it's Heroes and Hustle.

    That summarises the vast majority of my BBC viewing, if I happen to just come across something of interest then I'll watch it.

    Therefore, is the fee worth it? Considering everything the BBC make and I watch hardly a fraction of it, I certainly feel I pay too much. The BBC may as well just make it all a pay as you go thing, those that want to watch everything can pay to watch everything whereas I could just pay for the few things I watch. Then again, that would probably be too expensive so i guess I'll just make do and say that the fee is at least a reasonable price to have to pay even if to me personaly it doesn't seem worth it.

    The BBC does make some good programmes so I'm not trying to be completely negative here. Although I feel that the fees put the BBC on a different level when other channels aren't paid for through these fees we pay, especially when those at the BBC often find themselves acting more like representatives of themselves than those of the licence fee payers.

    Did we get a referendum when Johnathan Ross and Russell Brand played their prank where they got caught?

    No, the BBC seemed to be more concerned with losing its prize entertainers. If it had been me in charge, I would have fired the both of them and made sure they'd never appear anywhere on another BBC programme ever again. Maybe I'm being harsh but I felt that should have been the outcome, there's a difference between comedy / entertainment and what they did. Personally, I can't stand either of them, they're not entertaining and they're not funny and clearly this example proves how the BBC can be as out of touch with the licence fee payers as MPs are to the public.

    Now let's move on to a story worth talking about like how the parties are promising greater reforms on helping families.....Oh, wait a minute, Gordon's already done his part by plunging us all in to the wonderful recession and giving our families a wonderous pile of UK debt that families can pass on to their children.

    Congratulations Gordon, with reforms like that you're clearly deserving of an award so come on down off that pedestal of yours and let the public present it to you.

  • Comment number 51.

    42. General_Jack_Ripper wrote: "The only worthwhile thing that SKY provides is dedicated sports and film channels"

    The unworthwhile thing is that they move populat sport and films between several channels so you you have to subscribe to all of them to follow the action. Then they add extra ones and repeat the trick. It's cash, not customer, motivated.

  • Comment number 52.

    You've put my back up with invading the politics blogs with BBC puff. There's enough of puff and advertising on the BBC anyway and they do drive me to turn it off.

    Can't see the point of interviewing people from yesteryear and David Mellor is so stone age and John Birt, wasn't he the fella who boasted about being employed by his company and how much tax he could save? If not, sorry JB. If so, then he was the one that created the antiIR35 brigade, of which I know many and helped all our tax returns look like a scene from the 'good old days'.

    The BBC needs to know when advertising is advertising; a trailer for a programme is a trailer and that advertorial is quite the most disrespectful form of journalism.

    Don't really know why you are involved in this one, Nick. Thought better of you.

  • Comment number 53.

    Really, we are saying that every institution which does not match the ideological view of "free trade" shall eventually be swept aside by the pounding from relentless attacks.

    The NHS and the BBC are so scrutinised and frequently mauled by "pundits" that very, very thick skin is required to handle management of these organisations.

    The BBC tries to maintain an ethos and - in my opinion - provides some outstanding broadcasting. I do not believe there can be many people buying a television who do not benefit from the BBC in it's present and past output.

    I hope it can remain "untouchable". Especially untouchable by politicians.

  • Comment number 54.

    How to save money.
    1)Cut two hours TV programming in the morning, afternoon and at night.
    [24hrs news could be kept,since it fulfils the adequacy of service. Please,no more radio stations.]
    Otherwise the telly-addicts will just keep asking for more.

  • Comment number 55.

    telecasterdave wrote:
    "Why is the license fee so high when a large percentage of the programmes are repeats."

    There is still a cost involved in showing repeats but the cost of producing original output is astronomical, that's why ITV & SKY One, Two & Three are full of clip shows and reality TV shows as these cost very little to make. Planet Earth cost over £10 million to make but even small shows like sit-coms cost a great deal of money to make these days.
    The licence fee does get spent on other things too, as can be seen here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/licencefee/


    "Why do we not have HD programmes all of the time on all BBC channels."

    HD broadcasting requires additional HD equipment; it will take several years for the BBC, and other networks, to replace all of their filming, editing and broadcasting equipment to get it up to the standard required.
    Just as the roll-out of colour TV took several years, so too will the roll out of HD TV.


    "What does the BBC do with all of that license fee revenue."

    Again, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/licencefee/, this only took a single search on Google, so it's not like they're hiding this information.


    "Why oh why do we keep getting poor quality blogs from Nick Robinson."

    That is your opinion, I would disagree, as I'm sure would many other people.

  • Comment number 56.

    Nick - sorry - but yawn yawn. I know that it's early days on the electioneering trail but surely we haven't run out of controversial issues yet or are all the parties sat on the 'middle ground' looking for votes from the 'middle classes'? By the way what became of Mondeo man - is he extinct? Who is going to determine the outcome of the next election?

  • Comment number 57.

    I lived in the US for a couple of years, and that is enough to make you realise what a fantastic service the BBC is. No its not perfect, but with radio and online included its very good value, and I promise you would miss it if was gone.

  • Comment number 58.

    Its_an_Outrage wrote:
    "There is as much advertising on the BBC as anywhere else."

    No, there isn't.
    Watch Top Gear on the BBC and it is just under an hour long without interruption, watch it on Dave and it is edited down to about 45-50 minutes and is interrupted by three sets of adverts.

    Family Guy is another good example, on BBC3 it lasts twenty minutes per episode so you get two episodes back to back with a 90 second break in the middle lasting about 40 minutes, on FX you get two episodes back to back with twenty minutes of advertising spread out between the advert breaks taking up a total of 60 minutes.

    There's also a difference between the BBC publicising their own programming and advertising other people's products for commercial gain.

    A quick read of this puts their position regarding advertising into context: http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/policies/advertising.shtml

  • Comment number 59.

    Mellor tells the tale of how he took Birt to Green's restaurant and told him:

    "[T]hey're saying you should throw away Radio 1 and Radio 2. Do not do that. The person in the Gateshead council house has got to have a reason to pay the licence fee. If it appears to be a subsidy from the Gateshead council house to the bloke in Hampstead Garden Suburb plugged into Radio 3, it isn't going to work."

    ===

    There you go, Saga, mentioned in dispatches. It's all your fault, apparently!

  • Comment number 60.

    Perhaps we could see a breakdown of how and where the BBC spends 'its' money and then afterwards the debate might rise to nearing reasonable intelligence?

  • Comment number 61.

    outrage @ 48

    "That explains why you call everyone 'Babe' though"

    Don't do that any more.

    Just a silly phase (I was going through) ... over now.

  • Comment number 62.

    yb @ 59

    Hampstead ... the "Village" ... not Hampstead Garden Suburb.

    God.

  • Comment number 63.

    For someone into politics your not very good at it are you?

    I bet your SPNJT which is something labour started the second they got in. Do a little research and see if you can find out what it stands for.

  • Comment number 64.

    Perhaps if everyone we see from the News and Politics output weren't massive left wingers, you know the type, big-government ex-commies and/or relativists, there would not be so many people wondering why we have to pay for it.

    Nick, resign and put somebody with a greater sense of balance in, then see if that helps any.

  • Comment number 65.

    #50, AlphaPhantom:

    "I don't have a radio so for me it's all about the TV."

    You are seriously missing out on the best bits of the BBC in that case. If you feel it's appropriate for whatever reason to have one or the other, I suggest you flog your TV on eBay and spend the money on a radio instead. All the good stuff is on the Radio. The Today programme is one of the few sources of news on the BBC that hasn't been terminally dumbed down (the World Service being the other). And for a bit of light relief, programmes like the Now Show or the News Quiz are infinitely funnier than any comedy you'll see on TV these days.

  • Comment number 66.

    BBC: £12/month for about 6 tv channels and about 6 radio stations.

    Sky: £18/month for something like over 100 tv channels and tons of radio stations.

    Admittedly a lot of the sky channels are rubbish, but sky also includes the quality/type equivalent of what all the BBC channels do.

    Would you rather pay £12/month for a handful of BBC channels, half of which you never watch, or pay an extra 6 quid and get over 100 more channels *plus* the same type/quality of programs that you would have got under the £12/month bbc "package" ?

    To me it's a no-brainer.

    The BBC should just consist of true public service stations like the news, parliament, and weather, not entertainment. You can get loads of entertainment channels for free outside the BBC; there's absolutely no reason why the BBC should fund entertainment with public money.

    The rule should be this for the BBC:
    "Is this type/quality of programme already being made/aired for free outside the BBC?"
    If the answer to that is yes, then it shouldn't be made by the BBC (unless it's made on a purely commercial basis and doesn't cost the tax payer a penny).

    BBC news is now so horrendously left-leaning that it's an insult to watch, so it doesn't get my vote when it comes to "should it be paid for or not?" stakes.

    If you exclude BBC programs which aren't already being made/aired for free elsewhere by some other company, and also exclude BBC programs which are politically biased beyond belief, then you're left with nothing.

    Scrap the license fee, and the BBC with it.

    You had your chance and you blew it with your bias and waste that never would have been stomached for a moment in the real world.

  • Comment number 67.

    Forms of public media are many. In North Korea one awakes every morning to the mandatory speaker in the house singing the praises of the Great Leader, in China the public station is a propaganda machine highlighting the accomplishments of the government and avoiding negative or opposing positions, in the West the public stations are cultural institution attempting to maintain a set of social values constructed by the elite and educational programs for children that may be the most democratic education they will ever receive. Commerical media replaces the Roman colliseum and is a cesspool at the better moments. Nothing is more corrupt than banking yet we fund them as they continue to heap abuse on the public. Most public media is meant to express some sense of national and social identity.....if it is successful. People with closed minds like closed views, such is the way of the world.

  • Comment number 68.

    It`s politically interesting that the BBC is launching this debate about its future ahead of the GE.They have clearly read the runes and realize that News International would like their hands on a piece of it.

    My own view is the BBC has made itself vulnerable in terms of quality.If they are producing the same guff as commercial channels why pay for it?

    The claim of political partiality towards the left is nonsense.Partisans of all complexions blame the Beeb of bias against them.Because it gives both sides,there is slight evidence to show there is a bias towards the centre among less knowledeable and committed voters.

    Those who shout loudest about BBC bias against them always forget to mention the large right wing bias in the press.That`s all right then.

    Television however is an important political factor.People take political information from TV,it creates interest in politics among those who were previously apolitical,politicians time their schedules and announcements around the main news broadcasts.Such a powerful means of persausion is too important to be put in the hands of the money men without the strictest regulation.

  • Comment number 69.

    66. At 4:01pm on 20 Jan 2010, getridofgordonnow wrote:
    Sky: £18/month for something like over 100 tv channels and tons of radio stations.
    You can get loads of entertainment channels for free...
    ----------------------------------------
    Nothing is free.
    Just about everything you buy has a cost of advertising and this is one of the reasons why a big brand washing powder costs a huge amount more than an unknown or own brand one. This price difference partly pays for commercial TV, you pay for it whether you watch or not.
    Most Sky channels carry advertising so the same applies, in effect you are hit twice as you pay monthly too.
    I presume you would like a Fox News style channel in the UK to cheer along to. I almost expect Sky News to morph into it after the election. Lucky you.

  • Comment number 70.

    #66:

    "BBC: £12/month for about 6 tv channels and about 6 radio stations.

    Sky: £18/month for something like over 100 tv channels and tons of radio stations.

    Admittedly a lot of the sky channels are rubbish, but sky also includes the quality/type equivalent of what all the BBC channels do.

    Would you rather pay £12/month for a handful of BBC channels, half of which you never watch, or pay an extra 6 quid and get over 100 more channels *plus* the same type/quality of programs that you would have got under the £12/month bbc "package" ?

    To me it's a no-brainer."

    Or to put it another way, would you rather pay £12/month for a handful of BBC channels (not forgetting all the non-BBC free-to-air channels as well), half of which you never watch, or £18/month for 100 TV channels of total garbage, about 90% of which you'll never watch?

    To me too, it's a no-brainer.

  • Comment number 71.

    61. At 3:11pm on 20 Jan 2010, sagamix wrote:
    outrage @ 48

    "That explains why you call everyone 'Babe' though"

    Don't do that any more.

    Just a silly phase (I was going through) ... over now.


    Well done.

  • Comment number 72.

    getridofgordonnow wrote:
    "BBC: £12/month for about 6 tv channels and about 6 radio stations.
    Sky: £18/month for something like over 100 tv channels and tons of radio stations."


    SKY don't have anywhere near 100 TV channels, they host many channels but they only have SKY One, Two, Three, SKY News, SKY Sports News and a couple of others on their standard subscription package that you're using in your comparison.
    All of the other non-SKY channels you're talking about are available on Freeview or Freesat so there's no need to pay for them at all, SKY are just acting as an access portal for them.

    SKY's other channels only become available when you upgrade to their sport, movie, kids, arts and music packages and if you do this then the price goes up to £48.50 a month !

    All of the radio stations you get through your SKY box are available to anyone with a digibox, digital radio or internet connection.

    This is a part of the problem; people don't even know what they're paying for or who is offering what services.
    Only £8 per month from the licence fee goes on the BBC's TV output (£4.77 for BBC1, £1.95 for BBC2), £2.01 on radio and 61p on the internet.
    Now compare how much original programming you're getting for your £8 per month compared to the amount of original programming you're getting for your SKY subscription of £12 per month.
    SKY doesn’t look so good now, does it ?

  • Comment number 73.

    re: 69. At 4:26pm on 20 Jan 2010, Kit Green

    I don't really want to watch a fox news style channel. ITN is fine; it's commercial, only gets a tiny amount of public money, yet does exactly the same job that the BBC is supposed to do but does it much better and with much less bias.

    ITN/Channel4 are perfect examples of how the BBC *should* work; a handful of subsidies for public service elements, done well, without bias, at excellent quality, and virtually no cost to the tax payer relative to the BBC.

    Fox is not the model to follow.

    ITN/Channel4 is the model to follow; a commercial organisation that gets a small subsidy from the tax payer for public service elements that basically runs on a break-even basis.

    It's only channel4/ITN that's been holding the government to account the last few years; the BBC are too left-wing to hold a labour government to account, and sky are too scared to push something when they need to. ITN/Channel4 on the other hand have standards and don't get blackmailed by the "be nice on the interview or we'll never speak to you again" threats that all politicians use against all news organisations.

    I say throw the BBC in the bin, along with the license fee, and let ITN/Channel4 do the job; they do it a lot better, a lot cheaper, and with a lot less bias.

    The advertisting argument is an interesting one though; I suppose you're right that it's paid for one way or another, but at least there's some element of choice; I don't have to buy Fairy washing up liquid, I can buy asda's instead. I don't have the same luxury when it comes to paying for my license fee.

  • Comment number 74.

    55.

    Are you the same guy from the BBC that insulted my intelligence when I asked the BBC the same questions.
    If Sky is able to broadcast in HD then why not a publically funded organisation.
    For instance MOD is recorded in HD, probably by Sky, but not broadcast in HD by the BBC. Why not? Probably because Sky won't let them.
    Another point is that there must be millions of HD in this country, why therefore are the BBC so behind the times.

  • Comment number 75.

    #68 You are sadly mistaken, the BBC is biased, particulary on BBC radio phone in's, where they can selectively put on people to give the impression of the population at large. Now you will only know this if you actually bother to phone in time after time.

    for instance the BBC went out of its way to use actors voices for members of the IRA.

    I have phone R5_live countless times and also made countless complaints
    over there coverage of Father/children issues and the family courts.
    If you are envolved with groups that protest in this area there is a near blanted ban on members talking on the radio, and I for one have caught then out with a friend from a female protest group to prove this point.

    SO I can tell you without doubt that the BBC is envolved in skewing the Debate and it is shameful and leading to a great deal of resentement and distrust with a organisation that was once beyond reproach

  • Comment number 76.

    71. At 5:02pm on 20 Jan 2010, Its_an_Outrage wrote:
    61. At 3:11pm on 20 Jan 2010, sagamix wrote:
    outrage @ 48

    "That explains why you call everyone 'Babe' though"

    Don't do that any more.

    Just a silly phase (I was going through) ... over now.

    Well done.

    ****************************

    Looks as if he's going to quote lines from 10cc songs instead! 8-)

  • Comment number 77.

    The problem is not so much the flat tax (licence fee) itself, its how much it has been inflated over the years. This of course is not helped by the Government using the licence fee as a means of acquiring revenue for other purposes, e.g. Digital Britain and (I hear) they're also thinking about using that revenue to subsidise commercial TV...

    To be honest, when my main TV packs-in, I've more than half a mind to not bother replacing it. What's on TV isn't really worth the Licence fee these days...

    So we don't necessarily need to reform the Licence fee itself, just the attitudes of the Government (and perhaps also the BBC) to the relentless inflation and how they waste the money.

  • Comment number 78.

    I just watched Skys Road Wars..adverts 6.55-7pm...7.05pm guess what?Yep, ads again. I don't want to watch continuous break up of programming and so in theory I support the BBC. However, I watched 'Something for the weekend' BBC2 5 minutes chat..'celebrity' promoting latest song/book/play/film..5 mins chat..show 'funny' old video clip from BBC productions "available to buy now " £9.99..5 mins chat..guest chef advertising his own restaurant..5 mins chat... you get the picture.
    Not much difference to Murdochs lot really and at least I have a choice of paying for that.
    Please don't get me started on BBC Alba(93 viewers at a cost of £40million ) ok a slight exaggeration, BBC4 , Radio 6,7,9,37 or whatever they believe appeals to the 'yoof' of today

  • Comment number 79.

    75. At 5:26pm on 20 Jan 2010, IR35_SURVIVOR wrote:
    #68 You are sadly mistaken, the BBC is biased, particulary on BBC radio phone in's, where they can selectively put on people to give the impression of the population at large. Now you will only know this if you actually bother to phone in time after time.
    for instance the BBC went out of its way to use actors voices for members of the IRA.
    I have phone R5_live countless times and also made countless complaints
    over there coverage of Father/children issues and the family courts.
    If you are envolved with groups that protest in this area there is a near blanted ban on members talking on the radio, and I for one have caught then out with a friend from a female protest group to prove this point."
    "SO I can tell you without doubt that the BBC is envolved in skewing the Debate and it is shameful and leading to a great deal of resentement and distrust with a organisation that was once beyond reproach "

    Perhaps you and your friends are professional protestors? The BBC has to be extremely careful about product endorsement.

    My own recommendation would be to launch your own grievance channel based on subsciption, with advertisements from terrorist suspect compensation inc. and the life sentence guild of serial offendors.

  • Comment number 80.

    I believe the BBC licence fee represents really good value for money. If I want to watch anything from a commercial broadcaster, then I record it and watch the recording. This means that I can fast forward through the ads.

    Actually I don't mind watching the ads once or twice an evening - but I object to being shouted at it my own sitting room, and I object to seeing the same ad every 15 minutes or so.

    The BBC licence fee also covers Radio 4 - my favourite radio programme,and I would happily pay my licence fee for that alone. Yes it is becoming biased, but I hope that will change after the next election. Ve know who you are......

  • Comment number 81.

    Dear Tories, please fight the election on the Jeremy Hunt ticket of cutting the BBC and handing over broadcasting to News International. You will find out just how far outside of the mainstream your views are.

  • Comment number 82.

    telecasterdave wrote:
    "If Sky is able to broadcast in HD then why not a publically funded organisation."

    Probably because most of Sky's output is produced by someone else so for a lot of the time they're just transmitting someone else's shows, films & sport whereas the BBC produce or commission almost all of their programs.
    The transmission of HD is very simple once you've got the equipment and only needs a relatively small amount of new equipment. Compare this to the amount of cameras, editing suites, sound studio's and everything else the BBC use to make their shows and it becomes obvious why it will take the BBC longer to complete the upgrade.


    "For instance MOD is recorded in HD, probably by Sky, but not broadcast in HD by the BBC. Why not?"

    It is, I'm watching the Vila vs Blackburn game on MOTD at the moment and the info box says "also available on BBC HD".

    I don't know about the Premiership but most sports organisations film their sports themselves via their commercial rights holders and this feed is then given to the broadcaster, the only bits the broadcaster film are the studio segments, interviews with their hosts & pre-recorded bits. For example, the FOM take their own recording and editing equipment to every F1 race and all of the on-track action is filmed by them and fed to the BBC and other national broadcasters, the BBC only have their equipment filming the bits before and after the races.
    For some reason FOM have decided to wait till 2011 to start filming the races in HD so at the moment we're stuck with watching F1 in SD. The one exception last season being Vettel who was carrying an experimental HD on-board camera rig on his car.

    It's the same with films too, the studio's are just releasing films in HD so all Sky have to do is broadcast them, they're not having to film anything themselves.


    "Another point is that there must be millions of HD in this country, why therefore are the BBC so behind the times."

    How many have got the ability to receive HD TV though ?
    I'd guess it's a lot less than have HD TV's. We've replaced two of our old TV's recently and we got HD TV's so that we can receive HD TV should we choose to in the future but at the moment we're just signed up for SKY in SD as we don't want to pay the extra money for the box & subscription upgrades. Lots of my friends have HD TV's too but only one has signed up for SKY HD so far.

  • Comment number 83.

    "I DO question having to pay a licence fee for a service that is now so poor in terms of the output."

    If its so poor, how come its audiences are now the envy of ITV and Sky is doing everything it can to try to get it closed down when Cameron gets in.

    Its funny that the people screaming BBC bias all seem to think their own views are representative. How do you know?

  • Comment number 84.

    "To me it's a no-brainer"

    There may be a reason for that....

  • Comment number 85.

    One thing to remember when reading blog responses - even mine - is that empty vessels make the most noise. Though the comment about SKy et al being a cesspool did seem rather accurate.

  • Comment number 86.

    BBC Licence Fee?

    The BBC are under no pressure of any sort to make efficient use of their income. These is no competition to cause the BBC to make good programmes efficiently and for least cost without sacrificing standards. My solution is to have two licence fees for two state broadcasters then at least we could ensure that both were as efficient as possible. The restrictive practices of the BBC and the way it makes programmes are legendary (and possible apocryphal?) But we just don't know?

    We need to take part of the fee and fund another advert free channel (or so). Or break up the BBC into competing channels - something needs to be done to convince the people that the BBC are demonstrably making best use of our money, particularly now when we are entering a long period of austerity. It is not sufficient to get rid of overpaid celebrities whose jobs could always have been done by millions. We need downward pressure of costs and upward pressure on standards - in other words competition in advert free TV! (Perhaps the habitués of these blogs could actually run the blogs for a smaller fee than those who presently do!)

    Cat >>> Pigeons!!!!

  • Comment number 87.

    I hate the Tv licence. It is a tax.

    I hate the threatening, Stazi type, adverts put out to encourage payment.

    I hate the adverts reminding students that they need a licence in their digs.

    I hate the enforcement people going round poor estates not advising people that they have no right of entry and encouraging them to make incriminating statements for prosecution.

    If it wasnt for a get out included in the legislation, ( at whose request?), the licence would be illegal under Article 10 of the Human Rights act.

    It has been an anachronism for 50 years once commercial TV was introduced.

    There is no help with the cost for the less well off.

    Just abolish it. It is a tax on access to information and entertainment.

    The radio licence died when transistors were on everybodies arm and in their bag, yes you used to need a licence for your car radio!!!

    I have been hoping that the internet and mobile phone access would do the same for the TV licence but no.The BBC persist with telling you you need a licence to use your computer for live programmes. From my observations their so called live programmes run behind the TV set progs so none of it is "live" on a computer. Cant wait for the "snoopers" to start pouncing on mobile phone usesrs demanding to see their TV licence. It wont happen , will it ?

    Yes just abolish it.

  • Comment number 88.

    #79 I'm certainly NO terroist nore seeking compensation , what I'm after is justice and equality but not the sort saga and HH believe in. Those ends are campaigned for by many groups for mothers/fathers and grandparents, AND are only crime is to love our grand children and children something the state thinks it can intervene in and obstruct.


    it is the job of the BBC to fairly air the views on phone in programmes , in my sting against the BBC , a father and mother asked the same question , I was first (father) they would not entertain my question that what the reseacher told me, so I phoned a freind (mother/mothers protest group) she was on it seconds. QED bias. Now if you were to do more reserach in this area and plant barrium meals (learnt that from spycatcher, thanks peter) for the BBC you would then see the same and they are taking £135 of my money every year to skew debates. Same could be applied to Global Warming issues, You need to open your eyes and years, the one show the other day got caugh out with there blantant bias

    It also seems that you do not understand the issues involved and a lot of that has to be levelled at the BBC for it total failure to report on this issue in an unbaised manner. QED.

    You can see why GB does not want have the full report of the Eddlington events published , because like the Baby P et al reports the conclussion that can be drawn is that these problems are as a result of GB and labours social engineering issues. They Hide behind the protection of the victim anonimitty to prevent publication.

    Then with all of these reports to hand you analyse them and you will see how broken britian and its family structure are.

  • Comment number 89.

    82

    Utter rubbish, you must work for the BBC.
    Many of the programmes produced by the BBC are produced by outside companies. Obviously the vast amount of repeats will not be in HD as they are so old.
    MOD on a Saturday / Sunday is not broadcast in HD. They are however recorded in HD, you can tell that they are HD even when broadcast in SD as there is a sharper image to the picture.
    MOD last night as with the Man City match was in HD but the exception to the rule.
    Why defend the indefensible?

  • Comment number 90.

    This is more self regarding nonsense from the BBC and probably goes a long way to explain why they are doomed...just like newlabour.

    The very idea that taxpayers are now subsidising the BBC to have a debate about itself is about as daft as the latest equality report by Harriet Harman...paid for by tax payers for the government to use in the general election campaign.

    Blatant misuse of public funds is becoming common place in a dysfunctional government and a paranoid BBC.

    And it has become stifling to watch the number of government funded advertisements on television... every commercial break now inculdes at least one government advertisement..all paid for by us taxpayers...

    So if you want to educate yourself, claim benefits, get help in any way, the governemnt has decided to take this unique opportunity, just before the general election, to spend £500m of taxpayers money telling you how the government can help you.

    I've never seen such a discredited administration clutch at so many straws all at once.

    Call an election

  • Comment number 91.

    I think there should be stricter rules on who can join the BBC. For example they should not be allowed to be a member of any political party or donate or be involved in any parliamentary party. They should also try and recruit an equal amount of liberals, conservatives and socialist so that you have the widest viewpoint possible. Also stop having breaks, it seems the BBC want adverts as they have there OWN advert breaks.

  • Comment number 92.

    The BBC editorial line is like that of the Guardian: smug, 'progressive', liberal-left, bossy.

    That's what comes from existing on somebody else's earnings (in the BBC's case the licence tax; in the Gruniad's case - revenue from bloated public sector jobsworth advertising)

  • Comment number 93.

    The licence fee should be scrapped and replaced with a flat £100 added to council tax with an extra £100 winter payment for the over 70's. This 100 amount should be fixed for 20 years or so.

    We spend too much money collecting it and i'v read too many times on blogs recently that people are stopping paying for it as the dont have a TV and watch all their programs over the internet.

  • Comment number 94.

    92 MaxSceptic wrote:

    The BBC editorial line is like that of the Guardian: smug, 'progressive', liberal-left, bossy. That's what comes from existing on somebody else's earnings


    The armed forces are also publicly funded. Would you describe them as smug, 'progressive', liberal-left and bossy too? Presumably not to their faces.

  • Comment number 95.

    telecasterdave wrote:
    "55.
    Are you the same guy from the BBC that insulted my intelligence when I asked the BBC the same questions."


    No, I do not and never have worked for the BBC.
    I do know a few people who worked for Granada TV in Liverpool & Manchester though.


    Another very quick look on Google also brought up this:
    "WHY ISN'T MATCH OF THE DAY AVAILABLE IN HD?

    Match of the Day cannot be broadcast in HD because some of the matches are still filmed in standard definition (SD). The BBC's videotape infrastructure and the studio are also in SD. It is very expensive to convert everything to HD and would not deliver long-term value to either the BBC or its licence fee payers given BBC Sport's move to Salford in 2011 (where the infrastructure will be in HD).

    However, the BBC's live Championship games are in HD where possible, as will the 2010 World Cup. This is because outside broadcasts do not require the same infrastructure as Match of the Day and are therefore far easier to produce in HD."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/low/front_page/6183981.stm

    It's amazing what you can find on Google if you actually try...

    Although you appear to be the same guy who has also accused Buck_Turgidson of working for the BBC because you didn't like his answer either.
    Maybe we should write a new Godwin's law just for you; it could be Godwin's HYS law whereby any contributor accusing another contributor of being a BBC employee has obviously already lost the argument as they're unable to form any coherent response to the points being raised.

  • Comment number 96.

    89
    a easily found answer to your question. Though somehow I doubt you will believe it.
    The implication is that they could deliver it if they threw more moeny at it but when they are moving anyway to new facilities with HD anyway why waste it now - seems a reasonable answer

    Or do you propose that any technological advance in TV should be followed instantly by the BBC (even if the supplier of the programme has not) and all thereby redundant equipment replaced immediately at whatever cost is required? How much would that cost? Are you prepared to pay the extra license fee to enable it? I certainly am not.

    WHY ISN'T MATCH OF THE DAY AVAILABLE IN HD?

    Match of the Day cannot be broadcast in HD because some of the matches are still filmed in standard definition (SD). The BBC's videotape infrastructure and the studio are also in SD. It is very expensive to convert everything to HD and would not deliver long-term value to either the BBC or its licence fee payers given BBC Sport's move to Salford in 2011 (where the infrastructure will be in HD).

    However, the BBC's live Championship games are in HD where possible, as will the 2010 World Cup. This is because outside broadcasts do not require the same infrastructure as Match of the Day and are therefore far easier to produce in HD.

  • Comment number 97.

    90. At 09:36am on 21 Jan 2010, rockRobin7 wrote:
    "This is more self regarding nonsense from the BBC and probably goes a long way to explain why they are doomed...just like newlabour.
    The very idea that taxpayers are now subsidising the BBC to have a debate about itself is about as daft as the latest equality report by Harriet Harman...paid for by tax payers for the government to use in the general election campaign.
    Blatant misuse of public funds is becoming common place in a dysfunctional government and a paranoid BBC."

    Do you have a grievance license? I understand that any blogger without one will be reported and fined.If this is the way the country`s going,my own preference would be a one off sale of Titus Groan badges to all moaners and whingers.

    Your colleague at 79 is rightly incensed by the left wing antics of the BBC,and writes indignantly as follows:"If you are envolved with groups that protest in this area there is a near blanted ban on members talking on the radio, and I for one have caught then out with a friend from a female protest group to prove this point."

    I have suggested he should open a grievance channel and wonder if he can depend on you for a subscription? But I have warned him not to advertise on BBC blogs because there are strict rules on product endorsement.Another area which could be a minefield for you and your colleagues is copyright.Are you certain your whinges are original and are not replicated elsewhere? Conservative Central Office springs to mind.

    I trust my suggestions have been helpful.Yours in pain.Titus Groan.




  • Comment number 98.

    The Armed forces are sent where the government sends them - they do not have an option, hence the reason they have public sympathy and the smug media is getting public derision.

  • Comment number 99.

    92. At 10:17am on 21 Jan 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:
    "The BBC editorial line is like that of the Guardian: smug, 'progressive', liberal-left, bossy."

    These seem relatively minor vices compared with:Pompous,reactionary,hard right and authoritarian.


  • Comment number 100.

    #87 xTunbridge

    Yes, the TV licence is a tax, that's true. But for all your reasonable misgivings, what would you suggest as an alternative?

    I think there are 3 possible options (unless you can think of something else!)

    1. Pay for view, or subscription
    2. Allow advertising on the BBC
    3. Licence fee as we have now

    Pay for view or subscription would certainly be an option, but arguably is still a form of tax because any revenue from TV subscriptions would also need to cover all other BBC services, including radio and internet output.

    Advertising is also a possibility - but this could seriously affect the viability of other commercial broadcasters who are currently struggling in these times of economic downturn. The amount of money spent by advertisers would simply be spread more thinly. Also, do people really want adverts on the BBC?

    The chances are, if we went down this route we would end up paying a subscription AND having advertising, as on SKY.

    The licence fee is far from perfect, but for many, it's the least worst option. I would like to see more accountability from the BBC and less waste on over-inflated salaries etc. Questions of bias need to be properly addressed - and the BBC should not be able to cover up internal investigations eg the Balen Report. We've paid for it and we're entitled to know what it says!

    If the BBC does not put its own house in order, there is a real danger of more government interference in the future. With an election on the horizon, the BBC needs to address this expeditiously.

 

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